ARCV41480 Archives preservation

Academic Year 2021/2022

Using international standards and best practice, the module considers the preservation of archives and special collections, in both analogue and digital forms. It introduces students to the nature and characteristics of different formats, as well as the immediate and longer-term threats to their ongoing preservation and access. Being able to identify risks to collections and assess organisational preservation capabilities, in order to prioritise, plan for and manage preservation activities, are emphasised as key aspects of professional work. The module will provide students with an overview of the practical approaches that can be taken to mitigate preservation risks as well the importance of operating under the guiding framework of a preservation policy. The module also introduces the frameworks the profession uses to facilitate the acquisition of archives in terms of collecting and acquisition policies and donor agreements. It covers the practical issues that can arise when acquiring archives, discusses the role of legislation and introduces the processes of accessioning and deaccessioning collections.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
•Understand the importance of a preventive approach to preservation and articulate the difference between preventive and remedial preservation activities
•Be familiar with the physical components and configuration of traditional analogue materials, and their resultant preservation vulnerabilities and requirements
•Identify the wide range of activities that comprise a preservation programme
•Develop understanding of the main issues and challenges in the preservation of digital archives
•Develop awareness of the core aspects of approaches to digital preservation and the key skills and tools to commence digital preservation activities
•Become familiar with best practice standards in analogue and digital preservation.
•Formulate and implement effective and inclusive collecting policies and acquisition procedures
•Design collection deposit and accessioning protocols for paper and digital material.

Indicative Module Content:

The module will cover the following broad areas: Week 1 introduction to preservation and preservation principles; Week 2 Understanding traditional archive & historic library materials and the threats they face; Week 3 Preservation in practice: archive and library buildings; storage and environments; Week 4 Preservation in practice: other aspects of collection care; Week 5, a class visit or guest speaker; Week 6 Emergency planning, prevention and recovery for traditional archive & library materials; Week 7 Preserving digital materials: introduction and issues; Week 10, Preserving digital materials: approaches and options; Week 11, Preserving digital materials, preservation software systems; Weeks 12-14, Acquiring archives in traditional and digital formats, working with depositors and developing acquisition policies and procedures.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning


Small Group


Field Trip/External Visits




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This is a small group module which is taught through weekly 2 hour seminars. Each seminar provides an overview of the week's topic, supported by the use of lecture slides, case studies and in-class activities, such as the analysis of relevant policy documents. Students are encouraged in individual active learning through participation in class discussions and in-class exercises. Student learning is further supported by a practitioner guest lecture as well as the opportunity to experience an archival preservation software system. Autonomous learning includes the reading of relevant international preservation standards and guidelines available on Brightspace in advance of the relevant class. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Preserving traditional materials Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Assignment related to collecting policies and acquisition Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Preserving digital materials Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback on all assessments will be provided to each student via Brightspace. Individual feedback on all assignments will be provided by one-to-one meetings on Zoom or via email if requested by students.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 Thurs 13:00 - 14:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 22 Thurs 13:00 - 14:50